Yoga Practice in the Midst of Grief

By Wendy Stern, ED & Founder of GSN

As I was healing after the loss of my son, Noah, my yoga practice became my sanctuary.  I learned to look within my body for the answers to my suffering, and I found that yoga is what gave me a way to stay grounded and connected to myself, let go of the pain that I was holding in my body and to actually love myself more.

We will all experience grief, tragedy and trauma at some point in our lives- for some sooner and others of us later – we can all touch these vulnerable spaces of loss within ourselves, and as yogis, we actively look to our bodies to learn about ourselves and to grow, this is why we love yoga!  It makes us feel more.  It helps us to feel connected, which is what we are all ultimately seeking, right?

But, as a culture, we are not really equipped to talk about or how to deal with grief when it happens to us.  I certainly was not.  Instead, most of us disconnect and isolate ourselves, because other people are uncomfortable with these big emotions. Yoga teaches us to connect with these big emotions without judgement, so that we can acknowledge what is true and have a container to express our feelings and allow them to move through us.  

I still feel the grief at times – it can still overwhelm me in moments, but it is my touchstone showing me my strength, vulnerability, and my amazing capacity to love and trust even in the unknown. Grief is a personal journey for each of us.  It is a journey that may have no end destination, but grief and my journey has created a power inside of me that makes me feel like I can accomplish anything. It gives me hope.  I can grieve and still feel that amazing love inside of me. I can be tender and sad, and still love my life and experience gratitude and joy.  They can coexist for a beautiful, rich, amazing experience.

When I look at my two beautiful daughters, Hannah and Layla, and my husband, Brian, I know that I am blessed.  My experience of Noah has changed me so that I can now appreciate my life more and the people that I love.  Noah opened my heart and gave me a purpose and a cause to believe in and to fight for.

Noah taught me through his example how to love completely and without judgment, to be authentic and to live a life filled with gratitude and peace.